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Chameleon Testbed Launches Third Phase with Focus on IoT, Reproducibility

Published on August 14, 2020 by Faith Singer-Villalobos



Over the past decade, cloud computing grew from a tool used primarily by large scientific collaborations to one of the core technologies beneath the hood of the Internet and other critical systems. That evolution continues today, as the Internet of Things (IoT), more powerful mobile applications, and serverless computing drive new scientific and commercial uses of cloud computing.

Since it launched in 2015, Chameleon has enabled these innovations by providing thousands of computer scientists with the bare metal access they need to assemble and test new cloud computing approaches.

Under a new four-year, $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the cloud computing testbed led by the University of Chicago will further broaden its scope, adding new features for reproducibility, IoT and networking experimentation, and GPU computation to its core mission.

"Chameleon is a scientific instrument for computer science systems research," said Kate Keahey, Consortium for Advanced Science and Engineering (CASE) senior scientist affiliated with the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, and principal investigator of the Chameleon project. "Astronomers have telescopes, biologists have microscopes, and computer scientists have Chameleon."

In collaboration with the University of Chicago, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) helped deploy Chameleon. Additional partners include Northwestern University and the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

TACC's role will continue to be in the design, procurement, and operation of the hardware within the testbed. Chameleon will continue to evolve with a range of computing, networking, and storage systems over the coming years, keeping the testbed relevant and cutting edge.

TACC's role will continue to be in the design, procurement, and operation of the hardware within the testbed. Chameleon will continue to evolve with a range of computing, networking, and storage systems over the coming years, keeping the testbed relevant and cutting edge.

In its first five years, Chameleon has attracted more than 4,000 users from over 100 institutions, working on more than 500 different research and education projects. Scientists have used the testbed to study power management, operating systems, virtualization, high performance computing, distributed computing, security, machine learning, and many other research areas. Educators have used Chameleon for cloud computing courses, allowing college and high school students to build their own cloud and learn the inner workings of the technology.

Chameleon will also add expanded tools for reproducible research, allowing users to more easily publish and share the details and results of their experiments so that other scientists can replicate and build upon their work. After integration with Jupyter notebooks proved popular with the Chameleon community, the team began work on a sharing portal integrated with the Zenodo platform, where experiments can be easily published and discovered.

Additionally, the third phase of Chameleon introduces new options for software-defined networking, including compatibility with networking testbed project FABRIC, as well as new hardware and storage resources at the project's two sites: UChicago and TACC.

"Chameleon is a great example of how shared infrastructure with over 4,000 users can save the academic community time and money while catalyzing new research results," said Deepankar Medhi, program director in the Computer & Information Sciences & Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. "NSF is pleased to fund Chameleon for four more years in order to extend the platform with new capabilities, thus allowing researchers to conduct new lines of research and students to learn newer technologies."


Story Highlights

Since it launched in 2015, Chameleon has enabled thousands of computer scientists with the bare metal access they need to assemble and test new cloud computing approaches.

Under a new four-year, $10 million grant from the NSF, Chameleon will further broaden its scope, adding new features for reproducibility, IoT and networking experimentation, and GPU computation to its core mission.

In collaboration with the University of Chicago, TACC helped deploy Chameleon. Additional partners include Northwestern University and the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

TACC's role will continue to be in the design, procurement, and operation of the hardware within the testbed. Chameleon will continue to evolve with a range of computing, networking, and storage systems over the coming years, keeping the testbed relevant and cutting edge.


Contact

Faith Singer-Villalobos

Communications Manager
faith@tacc.utexas.edu | 512-232-5771

Aaron Dubrow

Science And Technology Writer
aarondubrow@tacc.utexas.edu

Jorge Salazar

Technical Writer/Editor
jorge@tacc.utexas.edu | 512-475-9411